The last step in scouting is learning who owns the spot (if it's on private property) and asking permission to hunt it. Ownership can be learned by knocking on doors in the area or by checking tax records in the local courthouse. Then, it's a simple matter of asking permission and hoping the owner says “yes.”
In summary, finding a good place to hunt ducks is harder now than ever. Prime spots near refuges and on established flyways are bought or leased up. Competition on public areas is severe.
Still, it is possible to hunt the fringes and find small holes and groups of birds that other hunters overlook. This can be done with minimal equipment but increased “expenditures” of time and scouting effort.
The first step is recognizing that such opportunities do exist. The next is actually making the effort to locate and take advantage of them.
Truly, the duck hot spot you've been dreaming of might just be over the hill or beyond the next tree line.